Point, focus, shoot! At one point of time, that was all you needed to do to capture that “perfect Kodak moment”. The advent of powerful camera phones (your humble cellphone; the latest to be launched is the Sony Xperia Z2 at Rs. 49,990 that boasts of a 20.2 megapixel camera) and the apple of everyone’s eye, the iPhone (which supposedly has the best point and shoot camera), have made clicking pictures a lot easier.
But these come at a cost. If you use your phone to shoot a lot of pictures, chances are that its battery would run out of juice before long. And if you don’t like to carry around a high-end SLR either, we bring you some sub- Rs. 10,000 options.
Nikon S32 @ Rs. 6,950
This is a family-friendly, rugged camera. You can dive in the pool with it, and if you happen to drop it from the dining table by accident, it will be no worse off. With a unique design that makes sure that even a toddler can use it, the camera has two dedicated shooting buttons — one on the left to record video, and another on the right to shoot still pictures. There are also assorted buttons on the back that let you change settings.
It has a stereo microphone on the front, which can capture underwater sounds as well. The zoom range is not very big compared to the others in this line-up, but the advantages outweigh this drawback. It is available in blue, white and pink.
Sony DSC-W830 @ Rs. 8,490
If you love going into detail, the DSC-W830 should be your pick. It has a 20.1 megapixel sensor, the renowned Zeiss lenses, an 8x optical zoom and the capability to shoot 720p videos and 360-degree panoramic view. The metal-body camera comes in black, pink, silver and purple.
The DSC-W830 has a mono microphone to capture sounds while shooting a video. Since it comes from Sony’s stable, it takes Sony’s memory stick in addition to SD cards. The camera is sleek, fits into a pocket and has a big shutter button, making it easy to use.
Canon IXUS 255 @ Rs. 9,995
IXUS cameras are known for great picture quality. Though this may be the lowest in terms of megapixels at just 12.1, it has the highest optical zoom in this line-up — a full 10x. It can also shoot a full high-definition (HD) movie like the Nikon. One feature that the other two don’t: it features an on-board wi-fi. It can thus stream pictures to your mobile device for you to share them instantly, and also use its GPS to geo-tag pictures.
The IXUS also has a face-ID feature that recognises people and helps you register up to 12 faces that it name-tags automatically when you import images to your computer. The IXUS 255 is available in silver, black and pink. The display is a large 3.0 inches and is bright both for indoor and outdoor shooting.
Canon cameras have another advantage, in that you can download the Canon hack development kit (CHDK) (from http://chdk.wikia.com) and get more advanced features. CHDK stores on your SD card and does not change anything in the camera, giving you an option to play with advanced settings such as longer exposure and manual overrides.
What we have discussed here is not an exhaustive list. Our aim has been to try and give you a fun travel accessory that can take better pictures than your average cell phone. Nikon, Sony and Canon all have more options in the below- Rs. 10,000 bracket, and all of them have some advantages and disadvantages. There are other brands such as Olympus, Samsung and Panasonic that also offer some fine features. Go for the ones that suit your priorities and budget.